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Sandra Bullock became an Oscar-winner after starring in the critically acclaimed feature The Blind Side. But initially, she didn’t see herself leading what would turn out to be one of her most memorable films.

Sandra Bullock repeatedly turned down ‘The Blind Side’

Sandra Bullock at the 77th Golden Globes Awards wearing a gold dress.
Sandra Bullock | David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

The Blind Side was Bullock’s 2009 feature film that was based on a true story and the book of the same name. The actor portrayed Leigh Anne Tuoy, who would end up adopting a homeless teenager with her husband. As successful as the film was, Bullock originally shied away from the project multiple times. The pressure of playing Tuoy felt too great for the actor.

“I don’t even remember saying yes to the movie,” she once said according to Irish Examiner. “I kept turning it down, not because I didn’t like it, but because I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know how to make it the story that it deserves to be. I couldn’t bring to the role what it needed.”

She also thought she had more of a chance of messing up The Blind Side than rising to the material.

“These are the kinds of roles that actresses can mess up, and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t step into it! I didn’t know how to make it as good as the story.” she said.

Bullock found enough inspiration to do The Blind Side after reading the book.

“But even though I didn’t think I could make this movie, the inspiring part of it is that here’s this family that does this and didn’t do it because someone was writing an article or a book, or making a movie, but because that’s where the instinct said, ‘This is what we’re going to do: we’re going to give love and reach out a hand,’” she said in an interview with Female.

Sandra Bullock felt the first week of shooting ‘The Blind Side’ was the worst

Bullock confided in an interview with The New York Times that her nerves continued even after agreeing to do the project. So much so that she immediately questioned her decision to star in the movie when she stepped on set. The Speed star described the first week of filming being “the worst I ever had.” It didn’t get any better during the second week.

“I regretted having taken the film. Like, I shouldn’t have done this,” she said, feeling uncertainty in her performance.

Bullock still wasn’t sure that her performance matched the film’s expectations even after the movie wrapped. But she was content in knowing that she’d given The Blind Side her all.

“This is one of those moments that can sit in one hand with a couple of fingers that I left going, I have no idea what I did. I don’t know if it’s right. I don’t know if I gave what I needed to give, but I was spent by the time I left. And I did everything I could that I was able to do,” she once said in an interview with Tribute Movies.

Sandra Bullock didn’t expect her ‘Blind Side’ performance to earn her an Oscar nomination


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Given the uncertainty around her performance, it came as a huge surprise to Bullock when she nabbed an Oscar nomination. The Bird Box actor wasn’t even awake when she was announced to be a contender.

“I was literally asleep when the phone rang. I don’t think expects it, but if they do, how great must that feel when the get it,” she said in an interview with She Knows. “I just didn’t want to be one of those people who, when it didn’t’ come, be all of sudden crushed where I set everything up for this moment. Please don’t let me be happy with what I have. I am very….amazed and thankful to be here — because I’d like to work hard for another ten or fifteen years. This is what that means. Bring it!”

It came as even more of a shocker because, Bullock asserted, it usually took more than hard work to be recognized by the Academy.

“I know I work really hard. But just because I work really hard doesn’t mean the elements come together. I’m always shocked and so happy, and it’s always unexpected to me I expect to fail. That’s why I work even harder. Does anybody expect a nomination? I certainly didn’t,” she said.

She’d not only received an Oscar nomination, but won the award for Best Actress, beating out actors like Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan.